All in a face
It had been a dismal sort of day. The kind where your eyes are puffy and your heart is broken and you wonder just how you’ll ever make it through. The kind where the needs of one child completely eclipse the balance of the entire family and all the other kids cluster in a room and keep themselves busy and happy because they sense the toll that’s being taken. The kind where I find myself repeating words in my mind that have been spoken to me in haste by strangers in years past. Words that hold no truth and should hold no power but somehow they do on this day.
Why is it that in these weak and fragile moments I can’t always find the right thing to cling to? Why do I forget?
I use every ounce of my being, every skill I have and still find myself at a total loss for how to proceed and how to help a child who can’t stand change make it through the trauma (and blessing) of moving.
In the midst of such a day I foolishly attempt to unload some random items on Craigslist. Really, it was one thing too many. But I either lacked the common sense to figure that out or underestimate just how the day will play out.
I arrange for someone to come get the free desk around noon and then spend the hour before noon trying (and failing) to calm a child who is getting bigger and stronger so quickly that I no longer can just sit and hold him when he’s lost it. The doorbell rings and I wipe tears away so I can answer it.
I mumble and wonder if she sees my current state and tell her the desk is outside. Why I even stop to worry what the random stranger from Craigslist thinks of me I have no idea. I forget her name and rummage around for shoes. But her face and the kindness in her eyes force my heart to settle just a bit. I look up again and notice wrinkle smile lines around her eyes and pale blue eyeliner that reminds me of junior high.
I don’t even offer to help her and her son carry it to their car. I just walk back inside and figure out how to make lunch. When the day is over I write her an email and tell the stranger “I just wanted to say that your face, your eyes, were really beautiful and joy-filled and had I been my normal chatty self I would have told you that.” I went on to explain just briefly how my morning had gone.
Her response was as kind as her face had been, “ As I always say you never know what people are going through so never pull trigger too fast ….. Thank you again for the nice thought, you made my day..and Jesus Bless your day as well.”
I wonder what my face says about my heart. If I had a mirror of every moment these past several weeks I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t love it. But it is days like these with the simplest of gifts mixed into the mess of my life that remind me how much God is present absolutely everywhere around me. Even if just in the face of a stranger.